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Mid-late September “Signal at 42.5 percent and… fading… 41.2… 40.8…” I turned a new direction until the signal got stronger. “42.7… 42.9… 43.6…” I mumbled, keeping an eye on the signal chart and the window outside. It’s been a week since I left Mars. For six hours today, today, I have been searching the Asteroid Belt for the ships, all by hand. Fortunately, some were very far apart, and most all were too small to cause damage. Unfortunately, most modern ships don’t have an autopilot for frequency modulation, so I had no break, or bathroom time, or I would go severely off course by no fewer then four kilometers and loose 20% or more of the signals strength, so I was more then irritated. I guess that’s why it’s such a good hiding spot… I did nothing for the next few hours, except watch some small rocks as they try to hit me and fail, along with the radio and chart, which I am damned surprised, could even work! Jack gave me the tuner so that I could find it. All that could be heard through the signal is Sam saying “Indy Campbell” repeatedly. I had no clue what it meant, and neither did Adam when I reported it in. Throughout this whole trip, I had not seen one shooting star, and that unsettled me… Finally, after hours of searching, I had enough proof to believe that I had even found the rock. It was a ways away, and the radio chirped in at 97%. That large thing must be 1
it; no other rock in this general zone is as big as an eighth of Maui. I put the Nagare on autopilot and sighed loudly in achievement and exhaustion. I got up to use the bathroom, and get a banana from the replicator, and then I was back down. I scanned the rock for some kind of entrance. Adam said that Sam would have rigged a way to dock, and get inside without the aide of a ship. He said the entrance should be a blue translucent tunnel extending out and molding to the entrance of a ship. None of us knew how to access it, but I had an idea I wanted to try… Adam had told me that Sam was very possessive, which is a reason he kept the Janus. With that knowledge, maybe all his passwords are the same for everything. Adam had said that Sam did that with his programs before, so he didn’t doubt that theory. “Please input tunnel password…” A stern but calming female voice said when I established a connection. I pulled up my keyboard and typed up the same code I used on Sam’s NTD Arrowhead: “xSCxHTx” The sticks code, as I called it. The screen flashed green and the voice chimed. “Password accepted. Please position the entrance of the ship to the edge of the tunnel.” I shut the keyboard down and edged the starboard side of the Nagare to the outgoing tunnel. The tunnel was oblong, sixty-five percent transparent, and had no ramp or anything inside. It’s probably weightless in there too. “I have a bad feeling about this…” I said aloud. I docked the ship and programmed a setting to go off, triggering the ship to leave to safety until I needed it using my Aexom’s transmissions. I opened the hatch to the Nagare and quickly looked around, sniffing for some sour air, or a leak, and slowly 2
stepped off. At the edge of the cockpit door, the gravity died and I floated out a few meters. I looked around quickly for something to push off, when a loud noise freaked me out. I looked behind my person to see a safety wall drop from out of nowhere to help prevent air leaks. I rolled my eyes and told my ship to go away. It did, just as I programmed, and as it did, I saw a shooting star. I smiled, happy that I was wished some luck, and ventured inside. *** I expected to encounter a gravity generator, but I didn’t. The whole thing was in freefall. From the looks of it, the station was designed to function in this environment, just like the Avenger, but this was in much better condition. I looked around to try to make sense of where I was. Control centers with consoles and chairs with seat belts were stationed on the walls, floors, and ceilings, whichever way you look at it and each six side was painted a different color contrasting with dark silver, so I bet that this was made before Diclose Cillme was discovered, or on a very low budget. In addition, large rectangular windows occupied the centers of each wall, showing the rooms beyond, all of which were square shaped. I sighed and thought I was in one-way mirror hell or something. From what I could see, it was all mostly straight foreword, and getting to major areas would not be much of a problem. Getting to an individual room would be a problem. “OK… let’s go.” I said. I floated up to a nearby console and accessed it, searching for a map. The computer was severely outdated, and it didn’t look that well maintained. It was hard to work, and it started up slowly.
I waited fifteen agonizing minutes for it to stabilize and almost lost my patience. The outgoing tunnel opened and I heard some voices. I panicked, and then in a very snake like manner, I floated out and hid under the console away from view. I looked back to see who it was. “…I’m gonna do it today Haruna, today! I want it to happen today!” Sam said. Haruna responded. “Sam, please, you shouldn’t do this.” She said. They both quickly flew toward the glass rooms. Sam snorted while I followed them. I was trying my best to be as discrete as I could, I had practiced when Mom was alive, sneaking through the house, so I knew what I was doing. “Janus is the God of beginnings and endings Haruna. My ship symbolizes change and evolutions like the series of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, the growing up of young people. My ship, Janus, is all of that in one mechanic beast of a ship.” He said. Haruna spoke. “That was its codename; Janus was it’s codename to throw off the general public. Think of all the people in the system that didn’t deserve it. What would they think?” she asked. “Like I had said, they could gather on Europa and launch something into Jupiter to increase its mass and cause nuclear fission. There, you have a new star and planet, for you, you Haruna to live on.” Sam said with care. Haruna frizzed her hair. “No! You don’t see the problems behind that! Europa doesn’t have a working atmosphere for one, because of its low atomic mass. Second, Jupiter cannot become Lucifer, as you so gladly say it will, because it lacks the containment to keep fusion going, where a star can.
Jupiter’s mass is one-eightieth the mass needed for Gods sake! This is not a movie Sam! This is reality! We don’t even have anything to increase Jupiter’s mass it’s too damn big and expensive! We’ve gone through this before, Lucifer cannot exist!” she bellowed. Sam turned away. “No Haruna, you’re wrong, I’ve done research on this, and it will work.” He said. Haruna yelled at him. “It won’t work! The only reason you think it will is that you read a report or book, whichever, by Sir Arthur Charles Clarke and you liked the idea! Terrans are being over controlled by the media, why are you still doing it?” Haruna asked. Sam didn’t answer. “Is it because of your stupid dumb ass idea to fuse with Kat? Huh? Kat was crazy, and you knew that, but you fused anyway, and now your stuck like that for the rest of your now cut short life.” Haruna said angrily. “It will only be cut short when I go and destroy the sun," he muttered. Haruna went on and stopped before a large door. They waited for it to open, and I hid behind a corner. “There’s another thing, your plan lacks logic, if you love me like you say you do, then why go off in a ship prototype you made to destroy the sun just to get back at the man who was trying to complete your work? Again, is it Kat? Is Kat doing this?” she asked. Sam looked at her and they passed through the door. “Kats not responsible for all this, I am!” he said. Haruna yelled at him. “You are Kat you dumb piece of ectoplasmic soot!” she yelled so loud, it could probably be heard throughout the whole station. Sam was as they left the hallways and went into the main hanger. There, the Janus rested, floating on a cushion of air, but the Colombia was nowhere in sight. I snuck up behind the two in a subtle way to avoid being stuck behind the door, and I quickly hid behind some tied 5
down crates. I looked at the ship before me. Something that set me off about the hanger is that it was a very familiar type of pastel blue, and lighting… I couldn’t quite place it… The Janus herself looks like an eagle closing in on its prey, but also made to look practical in the line of duty it was made for. It was dark grey, and seemed to have three decks, with the dewdrop shaped cockpit in the center. “You always do that Haruna, you always either blame Kat, or you tell me how dumb my ideas are. My ideas always work, always.” He said. Haruna crossed her arms. “Name one plan, just one that worked.” She said. Sam answered immediately. “That’s not important.” He said. Haruna scoffed. “You don’t have one do you? Getting your ship back and killing the man who continued your job didn’t work, robbing Caesars Palace with your Asian buddies for funding this hanger didn’t work, and capturing Kyoko and planting the AC18 to get rid of attention didn’t work!” she yelled. Sam countered. “Getting Kyoko in the first place was your idea!” Sam bellowed. Wait, wait, wait… back up…what did he say? I felt my whole chest become numb in dread for a second …what did he say? Did Haruna do this to me? Is Haruna is the one who got me involved in the first place? I thought she was the… “Well, that may be so, but I’m not the one who didn’t call your brother for help getting the AC18 out!” she said. “I have enough skills to get the AC18 out, I don’t need Adam. If my security had been tighter, I would have gotten it out too.” He said while he pointed at Haruna. Haruna spread her arms out in protest. 6
“I was busy! You told me to try to contact Wu Bau Nu to try to hit Caesars again; I couldn’t have gotten an update on your badly aging Heracles system and get the attention of Woonie after one failure.” She said. Sam looked away in ponderment. “You may be right, maybe I could have glued the locks down so that Kyoko couldn’t escape," he said. Haruna glared at him with an open jaw, shocked at what she had just heard. “That’s awful! Why would you do that? Why… what…” Haruna looked like she was at a loss for words. “Isn’t it? What’s wrong Haruna? Do you have a better idea?” Sam asked. Haruna looked at him and blurted out. “Oh for Gods sake you stupid idiot, I let Kyoko go!” she bellowed. Sam glared at her in shock. “You did? Why?” he asked, getting angry. Haruna counted off with her fingers. “Well, she didn’t deserve this, getting her was a bad idea from the start, and putting her under an AC18 laser with a bad Hudson crystal at full power was cruel and unusual!” “It was not cruel and unusual, it was all I had.” “You could have killed her!” “I would have gotten my information back.” “For something you already had? What kind of plan is that? Killing an innocent for information you had already so that you could destroy the solar system! She doesn’t deserve all this; I had no choice but to let her go!” All of a sudden, Sam pulled a gun from his jacket and pointed at Haruna. Her mood changed very quickly. I just looked on in horror. Frozen in shock, and hoping that she would be all right.
“I am sick of this Haruna. You always discourage me because you don’t agree with me. I started a partnership with you because I loved you, not to argue with you constantly and have nothing click between us for a year.” Haruna’s lip quivered, too scared to move. She tried to speak, but couldn’t. “You support me, and you love me, don’t discourage me.” He said. Haruna calmly spoke. “Sam… please… please don’t shoot. Maybe over time we could…” “No! Not over time… now, right now.” He said. Haruna closed her eyes and sighed. “I cant right now… I’m not the problem Sam; Kat is one of the main problems, maybe if…” “Don’t talk about Kat that way.” He said through his teeth. Haruna sighed. “Maybe over time, we can get rid of Kat and make you normal again Kats warping your mind and making you insane. Please calm down and I will get some friends to try to help you. But right now, I just can’t do it.” She said. Sam seemed to get even angrier with Haruna, but she showed little fear. “You’re trying to stop me from getting revenge on Terra?” he asked, now fully enraged. “You’re trying to stop me from achieving my goal.” He said. Haruna’s face was getting red and puffy. “Well no more, not today, not now. Not ever!” He said and cocked the hammer. Haruna started to reach run away in the weightlessness in instinct, I started to jump out to help her. “Sam! No!” she yelled, but the gun went off and the blast struck Haruna in the head. 8
Haruna’s lifeless body flipped clockwise and kicked the gun out of his hand, shooting a second blast at Sam. The blast warped Sam’s elastic body, rendering him unharmed, while Haruna’s body flipped away toward the wall. Blood trailed along in a strange weightless spiral as her body flipped away. I swallowed some vomit and tears, and started to rush toward Sam. Something grabbed my ankle and pulled me back. I was placed with my back to the crates and softly shooshed. I knew this person. “Zophia…?” I asked, my instant confusion blending with my shock and sadness. She shooshed me again and she peeked over at Sam. I stayed where I was, trying to collect myself. I shut my eyes, and tried not to cry, but Zophia pulled me up. Sam was collecting the gun and wasn’t looking at Haruna. “What are you…?” I squeaked after a second. My crying demanded attention, and made me spasm a couple times. Zophia interrupted. “See what he does," she said, calm as a lake. I looked back at Sam with my puffy face. He floated over to Haruna and looked at her dead body for a long time, muttering about being apologetic. He threw his gun at the Janus as hard as he could, then he left into another room. I was planning to go to follow, but Zophia stopped me before I continued. “Don’t chase him; I think he will stay in the hanger.” She said. I looked at her, looking sadly at Haruna’s body. “The poor soul… She was infantile and departed this life for attempting to help us all…” she said and held onto her prayer beads fitted snuggly into a militaristic type Hedy. I looked this outfit over, it was grey, had many pockets, and closely resembled a flight jumpsuit. Zophia mumbled something, for a minute, but I interjected, trying to move on for the time being. 9
“What’s going on?” I asked loudly and my voice cracking. I was far past annoyed and emotional. Zophia didn’t answer me, she continued her death ritual, so I smacked the beads from her hand, and they clattered against the wall a short distance away. “What’s going on? Why are you here?” I demanded with my cracked voice being worse then usual. Zophia looked at the beads for a second, and then cleared her throat. She stretched her arm over a few meters to retrieve the beads and spoke in a very different tone. “I must be sincere with you. I work for the government Francine, as an undercover agent on six levels. You will know no more about me past those facts. I am here because I was sent to stop Sam from hurting the Terran life, and the balance of Sol herself. The Janus indeed has the power to act in the manner that Sam has promised, and much thanks to you Kyoko, we have found it.” She said. I was confused. The mystical quality in her voice was gone, and she wasn’t over complicating her sentences. “You’ve been following me?” I asked, forcing myself to calm down. “Yes, ever since you were in hiding Francine. I had never left your Nagare after I got you in the lunar cave. I have been following you to shape our mission and stop Sam.” I interjected. “Hold on! Wait a minute! What is going on? This is way too unreal and Hollywood for me. Sam is affiliated with the mafia and your James Bond now? What is this? What is going on? Who is ‘our’, what do you mean?” I asked, but Zophia shooshed me. “All will be shown to you soon, look.” She said. Zophia pointed to the large hanger door. It was becoming transparent. Sam walked out of the room, now obviously 10
with some gravity boots, and kicked Haruna’s body in anger. I gasped in shock and Zophia shooshed me softly. “That’s Kat.” She whispered. I nodded in understanding. Sam went over to the Janus and got it ready. “We just can’t let him go, can we?” I asked. Zophia sighed. The very low hum of the ship blasted through our bodies, but not our ears. I thought that we were suddenly in a vacuum, but I could still speak clearly. “My superiors and their agents are just outside with…” Zophia trailed off and seemed to zone out in deep thought. “What happened?” I asked. She held up her hand to shoosh me as the ship powered up, informing me to stop. I looked at the ship, and then started to go after Sam while he was still here, but just as I flew over, Zophia yelped. “No Kyoko!” she said and pulled me back down. “Sam’s men on our Martian base have caused some problems, so there aren’t enough ships outside to stop his monster. We need another ship.” She said. I looked at her cockeyed. “What about the Colombia?” I asked. Zophia glared at me in confusion. “The Colombia is irrelevant to our affairs.” She said. “If you have been following me, then you should know that its here.” I said, openly showing that I was bothered by her stalking me. Zophia shook her head. “Excuse me? … I… don’t.” she said, trying to think. I sighed. “What were you doing while I was on Mars?” I asked. Zophia frowned. “Sam was trying to destroy our bases on Terra so that he would succeed in his plan. No one there was watching you.” She said. I was stupefied at the response. 11
“What?” I bellowed with a delay, and then made a quick recovery by drawing my hair back on my forehead. Our tax dollars at work… there should be at least one person with an eye on me if she insisted on stalking me without my permission… “Look… never mind, the Colombia is here, we can chase him with it!” I said. Zophia shook her head. “No… your delirious, the serum in the tea I gave…” she started, but the Janus roared and quickly left the base. Zophia and I took cover behind the boxes, and she yelled to me. “Brace yourself for whiplash! The ship extinguished…” Zophia was cut off by some steam rushing at us. I ‘tied’ my arms to some rope on the crates, and remained stiff. I felt pain as I was flopped around from side to side, and I remembered how much I don’t like the feeling. Elotant was invented to prevent physical pain, and that’s all, I tell you… The roar of the storm lasted for ten seconds, and then it died down. I undid my hand, and looked at Zophia. She was meditating, or something, but I didn’t disturb her. I looked over and saw The Colombia. It was right next to the Janus all along. It looked like a large oblong civilian transport ship. “Look, the Colombia!” I said to Zophia. She came back from her trance. “By Grabthar's hammer…” she exclaimed in surprise after doing a double take. I looked at the ship for a second, and then back to Zophia, who was still in awe. She looked at me and gulped. “I have no orders, this is an unexpected event.” She paused. “In times like this, we are instructed to rely on our instincts.” She said, but didn’t act. 12
“Dumbfounded?” I asked. Zophia nodded slowly. “…indubitably…” she said as slowly as her nod. I rested my hand on my chest. “It’s my call then?” I asked, feeling that I knew a little more about the situation. Zophia shut her eyes and sighed. “…Indefinably. The sprits advise me that they would have dependence in you.” She said. Zophia floated out from behind the boxes and flew off toward the Colombia. I followed and looked for Haruna’s body, but it was nowhere in sight. Just some small splashes of blood on the wall where she was. I winced and thought of how Azuka would take it… “Francine, watch the ship.” Zophia said, trying to get my attention and taking me out of my own trance. I shook my head. “Huh? Oh, right.” We made contact with the lost ship and Zophia made her way to the entrance. “How are getting… In?” I asked, but Zophia seemed to be on it already. Before I even asked my question, she was hacking the main door’s keypad in rapid movements. Just as I finished my sentence, the door opened and Zophia weightlessly flew inside. I paused in awe. “Wow…” I said and floated in with her… but I fell on my face as soon as I crossed the threshold. “What the…” I said, getting up with difficulty. I saw Zophia on one knee, looking around. “Computer, reduce current gravity by ninety-three percent.” She demanded in a tone that I had never heard her use. The gravity became more bearable and the door shut behind us. “Why would the ship be set for Terras weight?” Zophia mumbled. I did the calculations for the weight we were at now. It felt like Luna, and the calculations pointed there as 13
well. Anything reasonable to feel comfortable I guess. The main door shut behind me and I looked around, trying to follow Zophia. She was hacking in the key code for the cockpit. I looked around the legendary ship. It was twice as big as a normal transport ship, but with all the chairs ripped out, and replaced with equipment, be it scientific, or medical, I’m not sure. I walked over to Zophia, not sure of what to do. “What are you…oh!” the door she was picking at opened and she ran inside and sat down at the pilot’s chair. I followed and sat next to her. “It’s a good thing we still had some records of this ship if some one was to ever find her.” She said and started it up. The whole thing hummed and I felt it rise up into space. “The Colombia also has decent fire power if she was ever under attack, but the power of the wolf and I do not believe that we can take Sam down. Someone will have to stop him on his ship.” She said. The Colombia made a loud hum, and we quickly shot out of the hanger. I was a bit shocked by the suddenness and speed of our leave, but Zophia was used to it, checking the instruments for failure or errors in programming and age. I was scared to death! The trip through the asteroids was a wee bit too fast for me! “What do you mean ‘on his ship?” I asked. Zophia didn’t answer for a second, due to her maneuvering past the few oncoming rocks. I started screaming in terror, this was intense! Fortunately, the belt was quickly waning “Someone is going to need to get on the Janus and physically stop him. Oh! Praise be to Yeven! We are clear of the asteroid belt.” She said happily. 14
I looked around just outside and saw no more threatening rocks out to get us. “My, but that was fast…” I muttered with my farm girl accent escaping me. I looked behind my person to see Sam’s base, I couldn’t. I looked foreword and could see a dot of light that was too big to be a distant star, or Sol out in the distance, the Janus. “This ship is reportedly able to go at top speeds for the research she was used for, so we will be able to catch Sam by matching the Inertia,” She said. I pointed at the dot. “Is that him?” I asked. Zophia nodded. “Yes, we need to jump him somehow. Do you need air?” she asked. Out of all the times people have asked me that, I could now respond correctly. “No, but too long without and I go crazy. Wait… jump him?” I asked in befuddlement. Zophia nodded. “Good, I do need air. You’re going to need to get on the ship.” She said. I winced and looked at her. “How am I going to do that?” I asked worried about what she was going to say. I looked at the Janus and felt a chill. Zophia’s eyes looked left and right rapidly in thought. “The Colombia has a connector hatch on its belly for other ships of its kind, though the Janus does not. The Janus has only one way in, which is the main way. I am attempting to match the inertia and velocity of the ship. When I succeed, you will get out via the hatch and jump to the ship, make your way over and open the door. If you miss, I’ll catch you. The password inside should be on a telepathic radio signal that anyone can open if they know it. You are familiar with the pass code I assume.” She said. I felt my head spin.
“I’m doing… what? Am I jumping the ship? That’s suicide! It’s better to face another night of southern sun then to jump!” I said. Zophia frowned, and then perked up. “Francine. It is easer to fly, then to face another night of southern Sun.” she smiled. I frowned in muffled frustration. I didn’t like this… “XSCxHTx, the sticks password… Always the Same…” I muttered. Zophia announced her move. “Attempting first connection plan A One… Are you ready?” She asked. I frowned and felt ready to cry. We moved up almost on top of the Janus and a voice came on the speakers, Sam. “Of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another…” he said. My eyes widened at what he said. “My dream!” I exclaimed, then suddenly, the Colombia rocked around so hard; I fell out of my seat. “What happened?” I asked like a total civilian… I was a total civilian... Zophia got intense, which really spooked me because of her nature. “Nut bunnies…“she growled with hatred as the Janus sped off. “What do I do…?” I started, but Zophia yelled at me. “Sit Down!” she bellowed, and like a hypnotic spell, I obeyed. “Attempting first connection plan B Two," she said and we sped off toward Sam. I held onto my hat and I wasn’t clear on what happened, but we seemed to be dodging blaster shots from the Janus. “Attempting second connection plan B Two. Kyoko, GO!” she said. I hesitated and started to cry. I sat back in the seat. 16
“I can’t go! I can’t go!” I bellowed. Zophia growled again. “Child, please! You must! I cannot go out there for I will loose consciousness and faint before I make contact with the ship. You must go!” she yelled, but in her southing way. I shook my head “No! I can’t go! I won’t make it!” I said while sobbing. “Francine… Show me.” She said. I looked up at her feeling confusion with my fear. “Excuse me?” I asked. Zophia explained herself. “I am the one who sent out your reoccurring dreams. My precognitive abilities saw these events come to be. I had trained the both of us for them through subliminal messaging. I saw this coming. I saw our fate. I saw… nothing beyond this moment in time. Francine, you must go and make certain that the Terran species will live to see another day. Show me that you are able to seal your fate and save Terra and her vast family in immense heroic endeavor.” She said. I was numb. Zophia had transmitted my mind-rattling dream all these years. Oh Lord, my dream has found meaning! I was the one who would save us all! I started hyperventilating and loosing focus. I thought I was going to faint. “Child, please center yourself! You must go to the Janus and stop Sam from destroying our lady Sol! Tonight is what it means to be young Kyoko! Please, go!” she said. On autopilot, I fled from the cockpit. “Computer, eliminate the gravity!” Zophia yelled, of which I had no warning. I lifted off the ground and flipped which resulted in slamming my back right into a wall. I quickly recovered 17
though and left for the transport hatch. The whole back of the ship was depressurizing but I barely noticed, I just floated into the room, and set the tunnel on the floor to empty out into space. I was barely thinking. I braced myself and was sucked out of the Colombia, chest first, into open space with enough whiplashes to kill someone. I flopped around for a second and noticed that I was hurtling toward the Januses bright pale hull, falling as if it were standing still. I extended my arm out to grab an exterior ladder that I had just spotted and held on tight. I swung around like a sticky hand toy across the belly. I screamed soundlessly and only heard the terrified beating of my heart and the ringing in my ear as I swung down. I stopped suddenly as I smacked the hull with sharp and disapproving pain across my body. The force and impact I made on the ship forced me to think again. This was scary! I held onto the ship as best I could, and tried not to curl up and cry. Oh God, Oh God, I don’t want to be here! … I was here though, and I had a job to do… God give me strength… I attempted to collect myself and looked out toward Sol to find out how far away it was. I pressed my lips together and sniveled. Judging by Sol’s size, we were a little more then One AU away. I decreased my arm length and as I crawled across the hull. I saw Zophia and the Colombia break off the Januses Inertia and leave. I sniveled some more and made my way to the ships only opening. I got to the closed entryway and hesitated in fear, clutching the ladder, and started to cry. I don’t want to be here… I do not want to be here! 18
Why couldn’t I have done something boring like other people? Why didn’t I stay in Missouri with the cows and chickens? …Because I wanted to go to space and… be with Johnny, Sam killed Johnny, killing my dreams. I need to top Sam from killing Terra. I wiped my eyes and carefully entered the code to open the door. To my great surprise, it opened without a problem. No air locks, no compressing mini room, no nothing! That was completely illogical! I left the idea alone, and floated inside, looking around for the cockpit. The inside of the Janus was mostly red in color, and seamed menacing, as if to intimidate others. Some displays hung on the walls, and nothing was really on the floors, creating open space. I looked back at the door I came from and it hadn’t closed yet, which both worried and puzzled me at the same time. I hesitated, getting a faint feeling of déjà vu, and headed up toward the cockpit. I was greeted by a rush of air pushing violently at me. I heard myself cough a little, and some hissing, but I soon became deaf again due to the vacuum. I grabbed onto a handhold and saw Sam looking at me furiously. I smiled a coy smile and twiddled my fingers at him like we had known each other for years. I was really nervous and scared … I had never seen anyone look that angry. Sam marched up to me, never letting me out of his sight, and said something to me, not caring that we both can’t hear for anything. He pushed me toward a door. I tried to stop him, but just as I did, I was pushed ultimately by Sam into a cylinder room with three doors surrounding us. I gasped, and before I could realize where 19
I had seen this, Sam acted. He forced me against the wall and the main door shut, refilling itself with air. “How did you get here? How, by the great spirit of Gaia did you get here? How?” he demanded. I could see fear blended with the insanity in Sam’s eyes, either he’s scared of how far I’ve come, and that I will stop him, or he’s scared of what he’s doing… My emotions trapped my words. I just glared at him, breathing heavily. “Do you think this is a game Kyoko? Do you?” he asked. I remained silent. Sam looked at me for a second longer, and then he turned around. “You will stay locked in here and die with me . . . from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.” he said and left as if air were being distributed throughout the ship. “Melville…” I muttered, remembering my dream. I shivered in fright at his exclamation, but I didn’t let it eat me… for Johnny. All the air sucked out and Sam locked the door, leaving me to float alone. The air redistributed itself. I rushed at the door, phasing halfway through, then I got an idea. I retracted back into the cylinder and looked at the three doors; one has to lead to the engines. This whole room though… it was frighteningly familiar, but I couldn’t place this spot… Head…Galley… The last one lead to the engines, so I floated up and phased through the door and went down the long dark hallway. At the end was a purple tube filled with lightning, making the whole room glow, and acting as the rooms only light source. I paused and gasped my hawk gasp. 20
“The ghosts!” I said in shock. This was all from my dream, the chrome, the buttons, Zophia leading me into the three hallways, and the purple thing! It was all here! Zophia was right! I started to breathe heavily. The overwhelming thought of what the dream may have meant for me… It has never gone this far before, and now I was here! I was making a conclusion to the dream I have been seeing for as long as I can remember that has never had an ending. I want to make it a good one… I saw a control panel wrapping around the whole room that seemed to be made for Terras gravity. I stretched my arm and made my way over to some controls in front of the purple thing. I examined the purple lightning in the tube, and I was guessing that it’s a power generator. I’m planning to shut off the engines and reroute the command to the frontal boosters and slow this ship down. I typed the password in where required, xSCxHTx, feeling a little morbid now, and continued, trying to figure out what to do. I saw a whole diagram of the ship that was interactive by touch screen. I used my index finger as a stylus, and rotated the ship on the display to its rear and shut down the booster rockets. After a few seconds, I felt the ship rumble and loose power and the purple thing became noticeably dimmer. As that happened, I searched for a way to encrypt this to a password. Unfortunately, the whole system became non-responsive while processing my command. “Oh damn it!” I squeaked and pounded the keyboard.
“That’s what happens when you hack my computer Kyoko…” I looked back to see Sam, who was infuriated at me. “Oh no…” My voice was still warbled due to how I felt. Sam didn’t care. He lounged at me and wrapped his hands around my neck. I looked at him and felt a familiar chill from the look of fire he gave me. “Stop this… Stop doing all of this…” he said through his teeth and continued to wrap his arms around me. I stole a glance at the display; it seemed to be working again. I exhaled slightly and spoke to him. “You could stop and save humanity…” I said and phased through his arms to fly to the display. I tried to find out where the physical lines to the accelerator were. Waiting while all the resources are being used was suicide. I’m going try to sever it, and cripple it manually. “What the hell?” Sam shouted in bewilderment, and then he caught on, just as I studied the map to find the line. I quickened my pace when I saw him come after me. I moved out of the way and Sam hit his head on the display. I moved behind the purple thing to locate the main panel that feeds the rear jets. “I am going to get you Kyoko, and when I do… I’ll…” he started and reached for me with insane vigor. I flew across the cabinets, looking for the right panel by the names taped on the doors. I countered Sams grasp by becoming intangible until I found the right door. Sam was, rapidly, without much thought in his actions, trying to catch me. “I’ll kill you Kyoko… I’ll catch you and put you through a taffy puller until you can’t stand it!” he yelled. 22
I ignored him when I found the right cabinet. Sam grabbed me when I became solid and pulled me away, though I acted as if I wasn’t being pulled at all and just stretched my torso back over to use the cabinet. I phased out of Sam’s arm again, went back to the cabinet, and opened it up. “What? Why do you keep doing that?” he yelled. “Duh…” I muttered, more to myself, then to him. I pulled the hatch off and tried to draw the wires off the flipside. The ship started to shake violently when I didn’t even do anything to cause it. “Damn!” I yelled. The vibration probably meant that we were getting very close to Sol. I whined aloud, and started with my severing. “No you bitch! You’ll ruin everything!” Sam yelled and charged again. I moved quicker, but stopped after I got an idea. He came at me. Using the lack of light in here, I outstretched the panel wires as far as it would go in Sam’s path and evaded him at the last moment. Sam severed, actually snapped and broke the wires, and that caused sparks to fly everywhere. Sam stopped against the wall and looked at what he had done. The rear boosters were dead. Farther acceleration was impossible without some repairs done. “Oh, hell no, you bitch!” he shouted and came after me. I was already on my way back to the cockpit to turn the ship around. Sam caught me again and squeezed me as hard as he could. In a spur of the moment idea, with little thought, I used the death pill that Adam gave me that was hiding under my tongue. I went limp. If all goes right, I should partly turn to Elotant, fooling Sam into thinking he got me. 23
Sam loosened his grip and kicked my remains out of the way. “Good… from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.” He muttered and left. Why did he say the same comment twice now? That’s a little imprudent. I floated there for a few seconds then reformed. I flew quickly to the doors and phased through both of them, seeing Sam making his way back to the cockpit. I snuck up on him and pulled him out of the way, hoping to beat him to the controls. I sped over, and opened the door before Sam could. I didn’t hear his obscenities and shock, but I could feel them like they were a harsh wind at my back. Behind the cockpit door, I was greeted by the white-hot intensity of Sol covering the whole window. I covered my eyes and instinctively looked back at Sam, who was even more blinded then I was. Sam covered his eyes and blindly floated toward the stuck door. Sols light blazed through the side door, and didn’t help Sam to see a target to grasp. He screamed, holding his eyes, and was pushed out from the air blowing from the cockpit. I stretched over to keep him from being sucked out. I was centimeters from grabbing his hand; but Sam was swallowed by Sols light, gone past my reach. Sam… and Kat were dead. I don’t think he would have survived either. The ships exterior must be red hot, judging by the light from the door that I initially opened. He couldn’t have anything to hold onto, so he must have fallen into Sol. I felt my heart leap into my throat. Wasting no time, I instantly went back to the cockpit to steer the ship. I closed the cockpit door and quickly moved the joystick. I pulled 24
back, feeling the heat on my face and the ship rumble and make a deafening hum. “Please, please, please, please…” I kept muttering, waiting not to see Sol anymore. I heard several things on the console pop, and I saw some smoke came from the controls, but I was moving. I tightened my grip until it hurt and leaned farther back until I saw Sol curve away and show off her corona. I smiled. I was in the clear so far. I eased off on the acceleration and continued off until I was departing the opposite way, ridding on the push that the ship gave to get here. I made it… I stopped Sam and saved the solar system… I’m going to go home now, and go to bed